There’s a distinct feeling of relief that comes after mailing pre-orders of a new issue of Wildheart. I watch the last one fall through the mail slot and, there, it’s out of my hands. After molding, shaping, editing, writing, organizing, reorganizing, emailing, coordinating, photographing, designing, discussing, proofing, redesigning, drinking coffee at 6am, and printing shipping labels at 10pm, it’s out of our hands.
When we started this journey, I knew it would be a lot of work…I just didn’t know what it would look like. It’s not constant. We have a few months of rest in between each issue, blessedly, but when it’s go-time, it’s pretty all-consuming for about two months. We work our day jobs, confer via text at night, meet for coffee early in the morning, and generally just fit it in where we can. A Sunday evening at Fernanda’s house here, a Wednesday morning at Rustic Goat there.
This issue, I spent a fair amount of time wondering if all of this extra work—this side hustle—is worth it. It would be much simpler to just come home from work and not have anything else going on, after all. These thoughts came after a long, hot, smoky summer. Was it exhausting for you too? I had lots of house guests, and work was crazy…and even though it feels like we should be tucking in for winter, the lack of snow and extreme darkness is disorienting. The usual organic cycle of tuning into rest hasn’t happened yet, just like the leaves took so much longer than normal to burst open this past spring. Things have felt a little…off.
And somehow, while I was having these thoughts, we made the issue that feels the “truest” yet. I’ve been saying this to people, but haven’t been quite sure what I mean by it. I’ll attempt to explain:
This issue required more of me than the others have—physically, mentally, and emotionally. It forced me to be extra creative when I didn’t feel I had any creativity in me at all. The written pieces we chose this time stirred my soul, and I took their words to heart. I placed more of myself around them. I don’t like the term “writers block,” but I was STRUGGLING to write a piece of my own this time. I knew I had something I needed to say—for me and for you—but it was buried deep and I couldn’t seem to access it. I started probably half a dozen different pieces, and none of them were what I needed to say.
It wasn’t until my friend Tanya looked at me and said something to the effect of, “We [Alaskans] need Wildheart. We look forward to it,” that I blinked out of my emotional tornado of working like crazy/not really sleeping/not really taking care of myself in general. (Did I mention that this issue’s theme is Wellness? Yeah, the irony is not lost on me.) I had been trying desperately to finish the magazine—the last 10% of anything seems to be the hardest—and it took that one moment, a day or two before I sent it to the printers, to snap out of it. It took that moment for the reason I’m doing this, for the words of our writers, to really sink in. I had appreciated their words, but I hadn’t absorbed them. It took until that moment for me to see the forest for the trees.
I’m doing this for you, but I’m also doing this for me. I need Wildheart too. It’s why I wanted to create it in the first place! I needed to be shaken awake and reminded to take care of myself (I think many of us need this reminder again and again and again). All of the stories in this issue are about the ways these Alaskan women have taken care of themselves, and they are so encouraging. They’re inspiring. They’re what I needed to read right now, and I didn’t even realize it.
We hope you love it as much as we do,
PS — Get the recipe for this drinking chocolate in Issue 4! We can’t stop drooling over it…